A lot of the podcasts I listen to end with the question ”What is saving your life right now?” Taken from a quote by Barbara Brown Taylor, an American Episcopal priest, academic, and author, the question is looking to capture things and ideas, deep and superficial, that are keeping you sane. The hope being that identifying them might enable other people to identify similar things in their own life, find new ones, or simply let you understand what helps you. In 2014, Brown Taylor was on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world. I’ve loved her writing for some time, but this one question keeps coming up in my world and has had a greater impact on my day-to-day than I could have imagined…
So as I sit here halfway through the school year, emotions all a-flutter, with one geekling in kindergarten, one in the second year of middle school, and one in fourth grade after virtual schooling for over a year, I find myself ruminating over the year that was 2021 and all the things that saved my life this year.
- Watching the Marvel Cinematic Universe with my eleven-year-old
Toby and I just recently watched End Game together, and have started working on the television shows now. I lost track of the MCU during the early years of motherhood, and so it was wonderful to be able to catch up alongside the very reason I stopped watching in the first place. Watching him find joy in the stories, watching his humor develop, brings a new appreciation to the whole viewing experience for me. Carving out that time for just the two of us, creating that shared experience has been priceless.
- Color Street Nail Polish
Honestly, I have worn less makeup in my 40 years than most twelve-year-olds. I have zero products in my toiletries bag, and only occasionally powder a shiny nose. I have never had a manicure. Yet somehow the sparkles and designs of these nail strips, which are basically the press-on nails of my misspent youth, have won my heart. Made of 100% real nail polish, I can paint my nails without having to paint my nails, which I never mastered with any kind of dexterity. When I click away at my keyboard every day, be it for work or pleasure, I get a little moment of joy with each sparkled fingertip. Plus I get to put Christmas lights on my hands, and I am all there for Christmas decorating of all kinds.
I know, I know, social media is evil, it’s eating away at my soul and my time. But having mostly dispensed with the crazy on Facebook, I do like a good picture feed. Instagram is my online happy place. A carefully curated place, with pictures of yarn, and rainbows, and board games. The hashtags there, such as #crochetersofinstagram and #fallyall, do only good things to my day.
I have devoted a good chunk of time this year to the creation of crocheted animals designed by Kerry Lord of Toft, a UK-based fiber arts company. I have talked about them on GeekMom again and again and probably will again. I have crocheted for twenty years now, but something this year clicked with this company, and my hooks have a mind of their own. The ability to start a project, and finish a project, sometimes in an evening, and have that completed project instantly cuddled by my babies, has been a pure joy. I have gifted some, but most are cuddled up each night with my three Geeklings.
- My mini DVD player
When I was freshly recovered from having my second son, Grey’s Anatomy saved my life. Deep in postpartum depression, I would turn the laptop on to the good folks at Grey-Sloan, and watch their lives while I made supper. It enabled me to tune out of my family for a short spell, and come out the other side refreshed and ready to participate in life again. Sorry, not sorry. I have found since then, that having something on in the background while I cook is a delightful distraction from the bedlam my little ones create. Earlier this year I invested in a cheap multi-region DVD player so that I might watch the DVDs I accumulated in the ’90s and ’00s. I am on Friends now, and will then be moving on to a rewatch of my British edition DVDs of The West Wing. One of the best ways I have ever spent $70.
I expect these things will continue to bring me comfort and joy in 2022, and I am excited to discover some new ones as we continue to deal with everything being thrown at us right now. Will it be puzzles or rediscovering poetry, will I pick up my ukulele again, or finally learn to draw with my arts-obsessed children? 2022, bring it!